Fracking explained

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Environment

World Water Day & B.C.’s Water Act

Posted by: admin  :  Category: B.C., Environment, green living, Vancouver

Originally published March 22, 2011

Today around the world people will demonstrate, write blog posts, think and talk about the issues surrounding water.  Lack of water, the polluting of it,  bottling  it, public water ways sold  for profit.  Indeed there is a lot of interest in the water in our own backyards.

As another World Water Day  arrives the time has never been better to consider the state of water,  in our taps  and around the world.  In Canada we are flanked by two Oceans and have the most fresh water, and best drinking water in the world.   We also have a pressing need to protect this natural resource that is our heritage and human right.

The Council of Canadians, a group of citizens that supports social action, urges Canadians to protect the water that belongs to all of us. They have  issued an  action alert a call out to British Coloumbians to take notice of the governments plans to modernise the water act.

Alarming propositions like the introduction of a Water Market that  would deregulate controls over who uses the water and for what. Removing any prioritising of water  for the  people of this province.  This is our natural resource. How it will be managed, and who, if anyone, should profit from the use of it needs to be determined.  There is a world water forum being held in Brussels, and also currently under negotiation is a trade agreement, much like NAFTA,  with the EU that would  givve access to the rivers of B.C. as part of the deal as well.

Who should have access to this water? If it is a human right we can not keep it all for ourselves, but surely we realise the absolute need to protect our own access to this water. The water in British Columbia belongs to the people, animals and plants who live here. It is ours and not for sale to the highest bidder.  Protecting this resources is our responsibility. Any government or individuals who would stand to profit from this process does not act in the best interest of it’s citizens.

Fraser River 2010 Sapperton Landing

Fraser River 2010 Sapperton Landing

TAKE ACTION

*A  provincial Water Act was  introduced in 2012.  Tell the BC government that you do not want the introduction of a water market to allocate water under the new Water Act. Ask the government to support an allocation system that provides hierarchy of use prioritizing ecological and social needs.

1) Though the ability for resident’s to engage has be significantly limited in recent months you are able to engage with the process by posting to the ‘Living Water Smart’ blog: (http://blog.gov.bc.ca/livingwatersmart/) or email ian.graeme@gov.bc.ca.

2)  With the political uncertainty surrounding this process, it is extremely important to raise this issue during the leadership races of all the political parties and to demand that candidates make a commitment to preventing a water market from being introduced in any future legislation. Contact your local MLA today and make sure that all leadership candidates make their position clear.

*From the Council of Canadians Website.

Call to action – January 14th 2013

Posted by: admin  :  Category: B.C., Environment

July 3rd is International Plastic Bag Free Day!

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Environment, green living

Amazing news today, as of July 1st 2012 Seattle  has banned plastic bags!

This is a move that has caused great celebration as well as proven that we can move forward with sustainable ideas.

Check out this Great Video- The Majestic Plastic Bag Narrated by Jeremy Irons.

By now most people are aware of the side effects of plastic bags ending up in the oceans. I wrote this article four years ago when I first learned about the Garbage Patch that exists in the Pacific Ocean.

Last Fall I attended a talk by Sea Captain Charles Moore. He writes of his experience sampling and exploring the garbage patch. His book Plastic Ocean documents his findings. Refereed to as “The 21st century Silent Spring it is beyond a wake up call. It is a remarkable account of one mans experience with the Sea and the devastating effects of plastic on sea life.

We are all compelled to take action. To protect the ocean and animals of this planet, and to make sustainable choices in this new century for the future of  life on earth. It is the small everyday choices that make a difference.

Green Water

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Environment

A Virtual Water Economy

The term green water may conger up images of a murky swamp or a swimming pool that is needing some attention. A Virtual Water Market exists today.  The green water is embedded in crops; it takes 1350 litres of water to produce 1 KG of wheat  and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Many countries are now choosing to import products with a heavy “water footprint” (volume of water used per year) rather then use the resources to grow the crop in their homeland.

Changes in the world livestock production, the increase in consumption of meat world wide and the overall change in land use has created an unsustainable system. This is the most important fact that must be recognised and dealt with.

Water scarcity is now a reality in many places that have never known droughts.  Valuable farmland has been turned into golf courses and developed into subdivisions while the need for food has reached an all time high with no slow down in sight.

Last year  Oxfam, an international organisation that addresses issue of poverty and social injustice, released  a new report warning that food prices will sky-rocket in the near future.  With prices set to rise from 120 to 180% in the next 20 years, this will lead to food shortages and even more hunger.

Having recently attended a presentation at SFU I learned about the U.S. Drought Monitor which shows clear data on the climate situation state by state. The data is clear; there is trouble in the American south and now that we are in full growing season the effects of these droughts will soon be felt.

How we choose to use water has never been more important then now. If we continue down the present path we can  predict more water shortages will  happen.

Growing food for human consumption (instead of fuel or livestock feed) must be the priority. Governments, farmers, and consumers must all get on board with making changes that will ensure a future of food security.

Originally published June 2011

Green washing

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Environment

The “Greener Living” headline on the cover of the local Metro newspaper today caught my attention. It turned out to be an add sponsored by a bottled water company!

The paper included a four page insert that features tips about Zero Waste, stories about things like Extended  Producer responsibility and the environment.  I was bemused and a little annoyed to read that “Metro has partnered with Dasani to “teach Canadians about  Choices” Really?

Clever marketing schemes like this disguise the truth, and while I appreciate the fact that some information in this ad is actually factual, the bigger story is the  Green Washing of this product.

Most people are aware of the environmental catastrophe that has resulted from the bottled water industry. Companies like Dasani (owned by Coca-Cola) want to green their image and help ease consumer concerns by creating plastic bottles made out of plant materials instead of the traditional petroleum plastics. The fact is that we are facing a food crisis, we are also dealing with a global garbage disaster, with a major source of the this garbage being disposable water bottles.(plastic or otherwise)

1 second — that’s 90,000 bottles per minute

From the reuseit site;

Fast Facts on Disposable Bottles

  • 2,480,000 tons of plastic bottles and jars were thrown away in one year (2008).
  • Tap water is cleaner, cheaper and healthier than store-bought water.
  • 60 billion single-use drink containers were purchased in 2006, and 3 out of 4 were thrown out directly after use.
  • Plastic bottles are among the most prevalent source of pollution found on our beaches.

Understandably  water bottle companies are now taking a new approach and turning to non petroleum based plastic for the bottles.  This does not stop consumers from throwing them away.

Bottled water has been proven to be less regulated then public drinking water, it is more expensive and  destructive to the environment, from the natural disruption in water flow at the source through the manufacturing and transporting of the water itself. It carries a large carbon footprint.

Single use items and products made to sooth our conscious, without long term thoughts about the impact these products have on our planet and sustainability are just a ploy to confuse matters.

Using Sugar cane Ethanol From Brazil is suppose to give us all a happy kumbaya feeling about this choice, but it leaves a bad taste behind.

When we choose to turn food into fuel, packaging, or anything other then nourishment, while millions of people around the world,(especially in places like Brazil) don’t have enough to eat each day it is not responsible. The production of sugar cane entails mono-cropping, the extensive use of pesticides, and perpetuates poverty.  We have to question the ethics here, and the reality of what choosing to support this product really means.

It is not just another choice. The reality of the matter is this;  if we  support products that harm the people and the planet we will all be forced to deal with the consequences.

 

 

Water Fracking – is it harmful?

Posted by: admin  :  Category: B.C., Environment
Fracking Natural Gas

Fracking Natural Gas

Just What is Hydraulic Fracturing?

That’s what I asked a colleague of mine recently when he told me about the documentary Gasland: A film by Josh Fox

The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When film-maker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown.”

The website is filled with information about this questionable practice that has reached epic proportions throughout the United States, and now Canada. With alarming statistic like over 80 000 pounds of chemicals are injected into the earth’s crust to “Frack” each well, the majority of which are toxic VOCs that contaminate the water table and air in the process of extraction.

Much controversy has arisen from this movie, the powerful Gas lobby and industry has replied with a “truth” campaign designed to discredit the director and the undeniable facts that this process is harmful, and largely unregulated.

The reply from the film-maker also goes to great lengths to substantiate his claims. The magazine  The Environmental Leader Recounts the New York Times article questioning the safety of the water fracking industry.

For a Canadian perspective Fracking Canada informs of the dangers of the practice.  It also seeks to encourage a dialogue about a subject that is not well known, except to the people who live with the reality of the wells and waste water in their backyards.

This is an important topic to learn more about.  We need to question whose interest is being served in the process of this resource extraction.

Water

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Environment, good news, green living

Water water everywhere, at least here in North America.

Care Canada walk in her shoes is a fund-raiser and awareness campaign. In the poorest communities around the world woman and girls are forced to walk an average of 6 kilometres a day just to get water and fuel for cooking. The women must then carry the water back home, eliminating time for education or other paid work. Six kilometres or 8000 steps is a lot! Wearing a pedometer, and taking part in this campaign I realise just how much that is!

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, March 8th,  thousands of Canadians are joining in this challenge.

Here in Canada we have the luxury to challenge ourselves to walk a little extra, and to give our money and time to other women of the world. In solidarity we walk, so these woman may know that  a world away we acknowledge their plight.

I know I am blessed beyond measure, simple necessities like water, food, and personal safety are not a usual consideration for me, or most of the developed world’s women and girls.

Care Canada has a mission statement that includes strengthening the power of self help. Fostering dignity, providing economic opportunity and influencing policy that encourage people to empower themselves.

The United Nations has declared “Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and therefore a basic human right.” What happens now is up to each country and individual. By simple campaigns like this one we can start a dialogue that will educate and illuminate this issue. Given that we share this planet with billions of people, many of whom will never be afforded the opportunities we take for granted everyday, the time has come for us to stand together with women and lift them up to a basic level of human dignity.

Give this matter some attention, your money or time. Until every person has the same access to basic human rights we can not move forward. There are steps you can take to raise awareness and lead the way to a better world for every woman, child and man alive today.

Water planet

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Environment, green living

World Toilet Day November 19th

Posted by: admin  :  Category: B.C., Environment, green living

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toilet

Today, November 19th is designated as World Toilet Day

2.5 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation, which risks their health, strips their dignity, and kills 1.8 million people, mostly children, a year.

Even in the world’s wealthiest countries people still have toilet problems – from unhygienic public toilets to sewage disposal that destroys our waterways.

This topic is not glamorous, but the fact is this basic necessity  most of us take for granted in the developed world is not available for close to one third of the worlds population! Today in the year 2010 this is a fact.

In many  major cities in North America, even  here in Vancouver the issues of public toilets has been dealt with in some efficient and creative ways.

There are now public toilets on the streets, in small self contained steel boxes, these toilets are automated, washed after each use and open automatically after 12 minutes. They are free, and some are wheelchair accessible.

toilet vancouver

The Big Squat is an event that asks people to squat for one minute to help raise awareness for World Toilet Day.   People need access to proper sanitation and clean water now.

This campaign is about  helping people gain dignity, and helping the planet at the same time.

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